Movie Review: Onward

by Chris

March 6, 2020



This Pixar adventure is set in a modern day fantasy world full of all kinds of mythical creatures. Two teenage elf brothers Ian and Barley Lightfoot, receive a wizard’s staff as a gift from their father who died before Ian was born and when Barley was too young to remember him, save for only a handful of memories. The staff came with a spell that will bring him back for only 24 hours so his sons can meet him. Ian uses the spell, only to end up with just his father’s legs. The brothers then go on a quest for a way to bring back the rest of their father before his time is up.

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Pixar has done some truly great original films over the years. Not to say that that all of the sequels aren’t good because they are (with a few exceptions). But this is the first one that truly delves into a fully mythical and fantastical world. It’s like pulling all of the characters and creatures out of Lord of the Rings and throwing them into modern day Chicago or New Jersey. You would think it would be a hard combination to make work but hey, this is Pixar we’re talking about.

While I’m not a huge fan of some of the creatures (my daughter was slightly disappointed that unicorns were reduced to angry dumpster divers), on the whole I loved the premise and can see a whole world of possibilities opening up for this new universe Pixar has created. The city of New Mushroomton is a great start for a growing universe. Pixar has been a little looser about sequels lately and hopefully we’ll see some new cities.

The two main actors lending their voice talents to this film are Tom Holland (Spiderman) and Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy). Those of you who are familiar with the Marvel Cinematic Universe should recognize the names and definitely the voices. They are perfectly cast here and each character plays fully to the strengths of the actor voicing the part. Pratt’s geeky humor and Holland’s awkward teen humor play off of each other perfectly. It definitely feels like an extension of Peter Quill and Peter Parker, but in the best of ways.

To say that the animation is top notch for Pixar is like saying “Newsflash – Water Found to Actually Be Wet.” It’s obvious and no one would expect any different. As the quality of CGI films continue to increase, Pixar is still two steps ahead of everyone else.  Characters and designs are wonderfully combined with a great and at times almost photo realistic feel. Everything from the fantastic characters to the little dust particles everywhere.

When all is said and done, it’s another home run of a movie. Like most of their others, it definitely brings on the waterworks especially towards the end. Don’t worry I won’t spoil anything. Like all of Pixar’s past movies that have a running theme throughout, this one is no different. Family and brotherly love is at the forefront of this story. Those with siblings will see this and hopefully realize that all bickering and fighting aside, the bonds of brotherhood are some of the strongest of all. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to grab a tissue and wipe my eyes.



Edit: April 4, 2020 Onward is available on Disney Plus, available to rent and own on Amazon.

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